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Gentle and brilliant book
on January 25, 2012
I just picked up 101 Things to Learn in Art School, by Kit White. I found this square little book in the beautiful Getty Center in LA. The book is covered in black rubber and is really fun to hold and touch. Though it is essentially about making art, and some of it is devoted to perspective and composition, much of what White says can be applied to writing and creating in general. There are pages and pages of inspirational messages, coupled with black-and-white reproductions of famous artists' work as interpreted by White. The best thing about this book is it makes you want to create. The drawings are beautiful and make you think about paintings you haven't seen in a while. This is a gentle and brilliant book. Below are some of the more memorable quotes:
Art is the product of process. Whether conceptual, experimental, emotional, or formal, the process you develop yields the image you produce. The materials you choose, the methods of production, and the sources of the images should all reflect the interests that command your attention. The process does not stop with each work completed. It is ongoing. The cumulative result of that process is a body of work.
Art is a continuing dialogue that stretches back through thousands of years. What you make is your contribution to that dialogue. Therefore, be conscious of what has come before you and the conversation that surrounds you. Try not to repeat what has already been said. Study art history and stay alert to the dialogue of your moment.
Complexity derives from the presence of contradiction. The world is not simple. It is rife with complexity. the impulse to eliminate the contradictions that create complexity is natural. But to simplify may be to render a false condition and therefore an incomplete description. Embrace the irreconcilable elements, the contradictions. They are part of any portrait of a moment.
Making art is an act of discovery. If you are dealing only with what you know, you may not be doing your job. When you discovery something new, or surprise yourself, you are engaging in the process of discovery.